FDA Approves Topical Antiandrogen for Acne

Heidi Splete

August 27, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration has approved clascoterone 1% cream for the topical therapy of acne, providing a treatment with a novel mechanism of action for acne.

Clascoterone is a topical androgen receptor inhibitor indicated for treatment of acne vulgaris in patients aged 12 years and older, according to the labeling from manufacturer Cassiopea. Clascoterone, which will be marketed as Winlevi, targets the androgen hormones that contribute to acne by inhibiting serum production and inflammation, according to a company press release.

"Although clascoterone's exact mechanism of action is unknown, laboratory studies suggest clascoterone competes with androgens, specifically dihydrotestosterone, for binding to the androgen receptors within the sebaceous gland and hair follicles," according to the release.

Approval was based in part on a pair of phase 3, double-blind, vehicle-controlled, 12-week, randomized trials including 1,440 patients aged 9 years and older with moderate to severe facial acne. The findings were published in April, in JAMA Dermatology.

Participants were randomized to twice-daily application of clascoterone or a control vehicle; treatment success was defined as having an Investigator's Global Assessment score of 0 (clear) or 1 (almost clear), as well as at least a 2-grade improvement from baseline, and absolute change in noninflammatory and inflammatory lesion counts at week 12.

At 12 weeks, treatment success rates were 18.4% and 20.3% among those on clascoterone, compared with 9% and 6.5%, respectively, among controls. There were also significant reductions in noninflammatory and inflammatory lesions from baseline at 12 weeks, compared with controls.

In the studies, treatment was well tolerated, with a safety profile similar to safety in controls. Adverse events thought to be related to clascoterone in the studies (a total of 13) included application-site pain; erythema; oropharyngeal pain; hypersensitivity, dryness, or hypertrichosis at the application site; eye irritation; headache; and hair color changes. "Clascoterone targets androgen receptors at the site of application and is quickly metabolized to an inactive form, thus limiting systemic activity,” the authors of the study wrote.

Clascoterone is expected to be available in the United States in early 2021, according to the manufacturer.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.